On a search for a better world, finding it in the most unlikely places
I spent this afternoon wandering in the patch of woods I have come to know as “The Wilderness”. The reason for my visit was that recent events have shown me to be seriously lacking in an aspect of my relationship with God. Over the past couple of months, I have become so focused on “inviting” God to be a part of my everyday experiences that I fear I have neglected an equally important part of my relationship with God: seeking. In the Bible, I see two equally important ideas in relating to God ultimately stemming from the same concept: that of being as closely connected to the person of Jesus as possible. The first approach is the “invitational” approach. This is the conscious act of offering our everyday experiences and actions to God as worship (12:1). I think it is easy to distort this into an expectation that God will approve our actions like some sort of divine rubber stamp, making our ideas successful and bringing prosperity to all that we do. The second approach to our relationship with Christ (discipleship) is what brings balance to the first. You can’t have one without the other. Indeed (as I have already said), they both stem from the same desire, but I will elaborate on that in conclusion. The second part of our relationship with God is that of seeking. I would define this as “a conscious physical separation from conversation, responsibility, and activity to actively engaging in prayer, scripture meditation, and communion with God”
Let’s be honest; most of us want God to take part in our lives but spend little time learning to discern His voice among the thousand whispers that constantly pull us in myriad directions. Unfortunately, discipleship without an active seeking of communion with God is at best a hollow endeavor, akin to trying to navigate a hike in the mountains without a map or compass. It is imperative that we spend time dedicated to seeking God’s face. Not so we can “Receive His will” (indeed we probably already know what we should do), but instead for the sole purpose of relating to and with the one who loves us more than anyone else. The Biblical precedent for seeking pervade the Biblical biographies from David to Jesus, Isaiah to Paul, Joshua to John the Baptizer. Discipleship must involve an active seeking-after of divine connectedness through the person of Jesus. Here’s some questions we all need to ask ourselves:
[I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.] [Phil. 3:8-14 NIV]